U.S. Marshals Service arrests star witness against former State District Judge Rudy Delgado
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The U.S. Marshals Service arrested the star witness against former state District Judge Rudy Delgado on Tuesday, just hours before he was scheduled to testify.
Deputy marshals arrested Noe Perez Jr., 58, of McAllen — an attorney who pleaded guilty to bribing Delgado — on Tuesday morning, said Deputy U.S. Marshal Juan Lara, a spokesman for the federal agency.
The bribery case against Delgado is scheduled to start Wednesday morning in McAllen.
“Mr. Perez is going to be our first witness,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter M. Nothstein, a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice Public Integrity Section, which is handling the case.
Perez claimed that he bribed Delgado from January 2008 to November 2016.
“During the course of the conspiracy, Defendant paid Judge Delgado with money or other items of value in exchange for favorable judicial consideration,” according to the criminal information against Perez. “On some occasions, Defendant would pay Judge Delgado a bribe after being solicited to do so. On other occasions, Defendant would pay Judge Delgado a bribe on his own initiative.”
Perez claimed he normally paid Delgado small amounts of cash, which ranged from $250 to $350. In November 2008, though, Delgado “appropriated” a truck from Perez valued at about $15,000, according to court records.
After he became an FBI informant, Perez paid Delgado on at least three occasions, according to court records. The FBI arrested Delgado in February 2018, weeks after he accepted $5,500 from Perez.
Delgado pleaded not guilty. He hired attorney Michael McCrum of San Antonio and attorney Terry Wayne Shamsie of Corpus Christi to represent him.
After the FBI arrested Delgado on bribery charges, Perez pleaded guilty. He posted a $25,000 bond and kept practicing law.
The McAllen Police Department, however, arrested Perez last month on a misdemeanor assault charge, which violated the conditions of release set by the court. As a result, the Marshals Service arrested him.
Perez is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker on Wednesday morning, when prosecutors had planned for him to testify.
“There’s the potential for some unforeseen issues first thing in the morning,” Nothstein said.
U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett of Houston, who is presiding over the trial, said he felt confident that prosecutors could work around any complications.
“That’s why you guys get paid the big bucks as trial lawyers,” Bennett said, half-joking. “To think on your feet.”
Neither attorney Guy Lee Womack of Houston nor attorney Jesus “Jesse” Contreras of Edinburg, who represent Perez, could immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The trial is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Wednesday with opening statements by the government and Delgado’s legal team. Prosecutors plan to call Perez as their first witness and anticipate he’ll spend the day testifying.